Well, it's been a busy and important week for Reds fans. With the 2007 season looking more and more like a lost cause, this week has fans looking toward the future. This week saw the long awaited arrival of Homer Bailey and the MLB draft.
As for Bailey, he performed well against a tough Indian lineup in front of 38,696 screaming Reds fans. Bailey went only 5 innings, giving up 2 runs, 5 hits, 4 walks (1 IBB), and 3 strikeouts. Oddly enough, the Reds let him throw 114 pitches in his first Major League outing. Given Homer's importance to the fortunes of the Reds over the next decade, let's hope that this outing isn't indicative of things to come.
Young pitchers throwing a substantial number of pitches at a young age can lead to arm problems. Young pitchers are often still growing and developing, which makes them even more susceptible to arm injuries from a heavy work load.
As for the draft, the Reds had a number of draft picks and really need to hit a homerun in this draft. The 2007 draft could restock a much improved farm system and pay huge dividends for the future.
In order for a small market team to compete with the larger payroll teams, the small market team must embrace player turnover. A prime example is the Oakland A's, who for years have seen All Stars and MVPs leave for greener pastures in free agency. However, the A's received additional draft picks as compensation for the losses.
That strategy enabled the A's to continually restock their farm system with inexpensive homegrown talent. As player salaries continue to rise at ~10.4% each season, the disparity between the salaries of the established veterans and young prospects continues to grow. Accordingly, the value of inexpensive homegrown talent increases each and every year. That's part of the reason why trade deadline deals for prospects are becoming increasingly rare. Teams have begun to appreciate the actual value of their top flight prospects.
The Reds need to implement a strategy that will see them lose a solid player every year or two to free agency. That will enable them to get compensatory draft picks for those players, which will ensure that they can continue to restock their farm system. The more picks you have, the better your chances of drafting successfully.
This is an important week for the future of the Reds. Time will tell how they did in the draft, but if Homer's performance is indicative of his future performance, then the Reds are at least one step closer to the promise land.